Stable government needed to secure airport infrastructure development, says Natuman

Deputy PM Natuman inspects the newly resurfaced Bauerfield runway earlier this week with PM Salwai, Minister for Infrastructure Napat. Photo: Philippe Metois/VPMU

Deputy PM Natuman inspects the newly resurfaced Bauerfield runway earlier this week with PM Salwai, Minister for Infrastructure Napat and colleagues from the tourism and aviation industry. Photo: Philippe Metois/VPMU

Both Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post have today led with Deputy PM Natuman’s warning that airport development needs stable government. This was pointed out by Jonas Cullwick who also attended the press conference given by Natuman (also Minister for Commerce, Trade and Tourism) after the opening. At the opening ceremony Natuman had emphasized the “neglect by successive governments and those in authority that resulted in airlines pulling out of Vanuatu and government losing revenue.”

As PM in 2014, Natuman started finalising the loan agreement with the World Bank to complete the work on the fast deteriorating Bauerfield runway. But then came the Carcasses-led government and the Singapore based company Vanuatu Trade Development Ltd in 2013 with their scam, the Rentabau ‘alternative’ airport. In 2015 when the Natuman Government was ousted, the Sato Kilman Government was reported favouring a Chinese company and so once again the World Bank financing was set aside.

When Natuman was asked at the press conference how long it would be before the World Bank loan negotiations were completed and the work on Bauerfield Phase 2 started he quickly and firmly replied “We need a stable government.”

Minister for Public Works Jotham Napat said he is determined to see the plan through for the complete repair of Bauerfield Airport and upgrading to Code E to accommodate Boeing 787s and Airbus A330 aircraft on long haul flights to enhance economic and tourism growth. (Daily Post)

There was other news today …

The lessees of a small island near Malo are claiming Vt 5 million from the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) for trespass on leased land. Film makers from Korea and China came here to make a Korean reality show, “Laws of the Jungle.” They were granted a filming permit by the Cultural Centre and reportedly stayed a fortnight in Vanuatu. The film was said to be likely to highlight the beauty of Vanuatu. However, there is a custom claimant to the land, and this story has a long way to run yet. (Daily Post)

Mele Village is about to have its first rice harvest! And Paama is looking to rice, too. Paama MP Fred Tasso visited the Imere Growers Association last week to see their 75 x 15 metres rice farm with the Agriculture Department’s Antoine Ravo. They imported rice seeds of the Japonica variety — Sheng Bao and Sang Han. The IGA hopes to harvest 25 tons of rice that will generate Vt 2.5 million. (Daily Post)